Dr. Forrest D. Fleischman
Environmental Policy, Politics, and Administration
Ph.D Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs & Department of Political Science - Joint PhD in Public Policy awarded 2012
B.S. / M.S. Stanford University (Coterminal Degrees) - Earth Systems with Honors in Environmental Science and Policy 2003
My research and teaching are both driven by my conviction that solving environmental problems requires improved understanding of human organization. To that end, I have developed a research program that combines a substantive focus on tropical deforestation with theoretical development that contributes to the study of public policy, public administration, and political science by examining the interrelationships between institutional development, scientific knowledge, and political accountability and representation in bureaucratic and community-based decision-making. These concepts are rarely studied in the remote areas of developing countries where I work, and thus my work provides fertile ground for testing and extending theories about public administration and the policy process. At the same time my research makes a major contribution to the interdisciplinary study of environmental policy, sustainability science, and social-ecological systems, particularly since tropical deforestation has rarely been studied through the disciplinary perspectives of political science and related fields.
Within this broad intersection of political science and environmental policy, my work focuses on three areas. First and most broadly, I conduct research that examines the political conditions which contribute to sustainable environmental management across levels of political organization, from local communities to regional and national governments and international agreements. Second, I focus on understanding the role of government officials and public agencies in implementing environmental policies. Third, I aim to understand how the knowledge that is used in policy-making by government officials and others is generated and spread among decision-makers. Across these areas, my research is methodologically diverse, utilizing ethnography, comparative case studies, and surveys, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations. I have ongoing research projects in Central India and Southern Mexico, and am developing research projects that examine several other countries in comparative perspective. In addition, I am developing research projects that examine the same conceptual issues in the United States, with a focus on my current home in Texas.